Jivana P. Condak, Founder and Director of Fort Greene Music Scene, and New York Miami Piano teaches Piano, Guitar, Ukulele, Beginner Bass and Drums, Boomwhackers, Voice, Music Theory, Ear Training and beginning Songwriting. Born in Manhattan, Jivana was exposed to music and art early on. Her mother, from Manhattan was an art director at Columbia Records and her father, from Brooklyn was a jazz musician and a visual artist who taught at School of Visual Arts, Parsons School of Design and Pratt Institute. Both of her parents’ work can be seen on hundreds of album covers.
As a child, Jivana was very influenced by her parents love for music and art. She began her classical piano studies at the age of six, taking weekly private lessons for 10 years, as well as studying guitar in the rock/folk/pop genres by the age of 12. She also sang lead soprano in her Elementary, Junior High and High School Choirs, played guitar in the School Ensemble and was tutored in piano in the pop/rock/folk styles by the School’s Musical Director. After school hours, she attended classes for keyboard and guitar in the pop/rock/blues/folk styles at the Guitar Study Center in NYC, run by Paul Simon’s brother. At the age of seventeen, she began writing songs and teaching music lessons to her friends. Jivana spent a summer semester at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and as a senior in high school, interned at major recording studio in NYC.
In 1982, Jivana entered Berklee College of Music where she majored in Performance for Piano and studied Voice, Arranging, Harmony, Sight Reading, Ear Training, Listening Analysis, Improvisation, Ensemble, etc. and formed a rock band with fellow students. She also joined a local reggae band with Jamaican musicians and started promoting and producing reggae concerts in New England. She also began studying African Dance.
In 1984, she relocated to Miami, where she joined another reggae band and African dance troupe, then on to Los Angeles for more of the same. She promoted and produced reggae concerts in the LA area for the next three years. Acts included Ziggy Marley, Third World, The Wailers, Gregory Isaacs, The Itals, Ras Michael, Israel Vibrations, Sugar Minott, Pablove Black, etc. as well as writing and recording her own material and studying voice and dance.
In the summer of 1991, with the recommendation of record executive, Bruce Lundvall (Columbia, Elektra, BlueNote), she established a music publishing company Maandiko Music with BMI. By then, Jivana had moved to Jamaica, West Indies to continue performing, writing, recording and producing. She also taught private keyboard lessons and music in the public schools around Jamaica and encouraged her students to perform in local shows.
Upon returning to New York in 1993, she furthered her studies, attending classes at The New School. Courses included: Advanced Song Writing, The Business of Song Writing, The Pop Music Business, Recording and Production, Management, A&R, Promotion, Publicity, Publishing & Copyright. Jivana also took private voice lessons and studied drums for four years then went on to study and perform middle-eastern dance. In 1995 she opened up a private music studio Fort Greene Music Scene in Brooklyn. In 1996, one of her songs Tell Me It’s Safe (©1993) was featured and performed at a BMI Songwriters’ Showcase in NYC.
In 1997 she formed the children’s performance group, The Koolkidz™ then launched an indie label, Musicskool Records while writing/producing/directing children’s music and videos. In 2002 her childrens’ group The Koolkidz™ performed her song Put the Drugs and Guns Away (©1997) at the Million Mom March in Washington, DC in 2002.
Eager to accomplish more, Jivana completed a course in Piano Tuning and Technology in 2003 at The Museum of the American Piano in NYC where she received her certificate, then spent five years working alongside Master Piano Technician, the late Kalman Detrich to become a versatile piano tuner and repair technician. Jivana became an Associate Member of The Piano Technician’s Guild, attending weekly meetings and workshops in NYC. In 2005, Jivana was awarded the Wall of Tolerance Award by Rosa Parks and the National Campaign for Tolerance for her public stance against hate, injustice and intolerance. In the same year, The Community Education Council for District 13 awarded Jivana an Invaluable Service Award for her work with children locally.
In 2008, her album Songs For Koolkidz™ won a Parents’ Choice Approved Award and in 2009 her childrens’ music video Positive (©1999) performed by the Koolkidz™, was chosen as an official selection for the Coney Island Film Festival in Brooklyn, NY. Soon to release her latest DVD, Colors of the World (©1997) A Multi-Language Experience, Jivana strives to make a difference in the world, through her music and through her message.
To date, Jivana has 45 years of playing experience, many years of performing experience, 24 years of teaching experience, and 13 years of piano tuning and repair experience. She has taught hundreds of children, written over one hundred songs and serviced over 250 pianos. She feels blessed to have had music in her life since she was a child and feels even more blessed that she gets to pass it on. Over the years, she has had the privilege of working with many reggae artists such as Dennis Brown, Judy Mowatt, members of Third World, Andrew Tosh, Ras Michael, Pablo Black, Cedric Brooks, Courtney Panton, JJ SanSaverino, Junior Jazz, Ronnie Butler, Donovan McKitty, Jah Levi & the Higher Reasoning, Marijah and the Reggae Allstars, Fantuzzi, Laury Webb and Tigerbone, I-Word, Eddie-I, Primitive, I-Chelle, Moral Minority, Positive Vibrations and many more.
Jivana is also a retired Certified Massage Practitioner, Nutritional Counselor, Natural Health Educator, Iyengar Yoga Teacher and has been a Vegan/Chef for over three decades. This awareness of the body-mind connection, helps her to incorporate a holistic approach to playing the piano, paying close attention to body language, breathing and posture. She approaches music as a language, as a dance, as communication, as therapy. She believes music should be felt and not just heard and strives to bring out that passion in her students and in her music.
Jivana has lived in the Fort Greene / Clinton Hill / Bed Stuy community for over 20 years and is pleased to see her students grow up to be professional musicians traveling the world. They are now recording artists, actors, directors, writers, producers, dancers, choreographers, teachers. They have won awards and scholarships and are amazing individuals. She has witnessed first hand, how music can change the life of a child, a community and the world. This drives her to continue her work with children into her third decade. Her love for children is matched only by her love for music. The End.